Kinston Man Sentenced for Federal Robbery Charges
RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced KEENAN GERRON DRAKE, 25, of Kinston, NC to 54 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.
DRAKE was named in a 14-count Indictment filed on February 28, 2017. On May 22, 2017, DRAKE subsequently pled guilty to two-counts of Interference with Commerce by Robbery and Aiding and Abetting.
Between August 24, 2015, and May 15, 2016, a series of armed robberies occurred in the Eastern District of North Carolina and elsewhere. A total of seven robberies were conducted by various participants including DRAKE. He robbed the Family Dollar in Faison, NC and the U.S. Cellular in Kenansville, NC. On December 19, 2015, Arnold (previously sentenced) drove Nobles (awaiting sentencing) and Drake to the robbery site. While the cashier was turned away, one of the men placed a pistol on the counter and demanded the money. The cashier gave Nobles and DRAKE the money from the cash register and was instructed to face the wall. The cashier was then told if she turned around, she would be shot. Nobles and DRAKE fled the store with $62.84.
On December 20, 2015, after being driven by Arnold, Nobles and DRAKE entered the U.S. Cellular store. After some conversation, one of the defendants walked to the door and locked it. The clerk accessed the safe and handed Nobles or DRAKE the bank bags and was then instructed to tell them how to open the cash drawer. The clerk complied, and Nobles or DRAKE took the money out of the cash drawer, while the other assailant instructed the clerk to lie down. The store suffered a loss of $1,825.86.
This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
The Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, the Kenansville Police Department, the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office, the Snow Hill Police Department, the Kinston Police Department, the New Bern Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government.